In-Person Winter School Back in Action

In-Person Winter School Back in Action

With much excitement, our holiday programme is back in-person. Learners, tutors and staff were in high spirits as they spent the two weeks of the programme with full days of intensive academic support, a full lineup of workshops,  games, and excursions. 

The first week was our Winter School supporting grade 8-11 and the second week was our Matric Week, aimed at our 2022 Grade 12 cohort.  1,450 learners showed up each morning across the country to participate in the programme. 330 tutors supported the learners during the two-week programme across all branches. 

We could not have been more proud of our volunteers as they played an instrumental role in the planning and execution of the programme. With the branch staff’s guidance, our volunteer tutors were responsible for liaising with educators for the content focus and dividing learners according to their academic strengths in their different subjects. Experienced tutors focused on at-risk learners and delivered targeted support. Beyond the tutoring, many stepped in as logistics managers, to ensure the porgramme was on schedule daily, to ensure the lunches arrived on time and to manage the excursions logistics. Winter School gives us an opportunity to train tutors on leadership as they take responsibility for their work, and execute their tasks, in turn equipping them for the world of work.

“Winter school was a very fun and warm experience for me. And the pleasure of being able to influence and inspire the next person was the reward I got out of this program. It felt so good standing in front of the learners and scratching a part of their minds that’s hungry for more knowledge and self-mastery. And that was so refreshing for me.

One of the most important things I learnt during the winter school program was the importance of balancing work with play. And how that plays a vital role in the wellness and the well-being of an individual to balance the two. As well as how to network and connect with other people. 

From day one, I felt at home, being around this inspiring environment. And one thing I appreciate most about this space here at IkamvaYouth is that it’s so easy to be inspired. Whether you’re a volunteer or a student. And the social aspect of this environment makes it easy and fun for people to learn from each other”. 

Zanethemba Mdyogolo, Winterschool tutor

Western Cape District 

The Western Cape team turned up the heat this winter. 662 learners attended the programme, supported by over 100 tutors. Learners in Grade 8 and 9, who are part of the Math programme spent time in the labs, closing the gaps from the first two terms. Grade 10 -12 covered their core subjects. The programme incorporated learning through play with learners participating in Talent Show, and subject-based quiz sessions. The afternoons were packed with workshops including Dangers of Drug & Alcohol abuse by SANCA, and a workshop on Gender-Based Violence by Ilitha Labantu, a presentation from False Bay College to name a few. The week ended with our Masiphumelele Branch visiting one of our partners, Cognia Law Office to experience the world of work. 


Gauteng and North West Region 


519 learners participated in the holiday programme in the Gauteng and North West, and 195 tutors were in attendance. The programme was a huge success, as learners spent an aggregated 130 hours in tutoring sessions covering various subjects. Across the six branches, the region hosted over 20 sessions through partnerships with key stakeholders such as National Youth Development Outreach, National Prosecuting Authority, and Africa Beyond 4IR. Some workshops included: Self-awareness, Time management and Goal Setting, Kid Coders Programme, Anti-bullying Awareness, and Tertiary Readiness Workshop to mention only a few. 


“It is inspiring to see that the community still holds dear the value for supporting and grooming the black child. As teachers, we are trying our best to educate and see our learners prospering. However, we are encouraged to see tutors volunteering their time to capacitate after-school support so learners do not deviate from their school work. Thank You IkamvaYouth!”

Mr S. Ziqubu, educator (Mamelodi Secondary School)

KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape Region 


Our KZN and Eastern Cape acting District Manager Sibonelo had this to say: “We are really fortunate to be in a position where we directly intervene, and change the educational outcomes of our learners. The COVID-19 pandemic caused so many learning gaps over the past two years, but what we know is that poor educational outcomes existed before the pandemic. Since after-school programmes such as ours are well positioned to continue to offer “catch-up” interventions that bridge these learning gaps, we are proud of the work we managed to do for the learners during the holiday programme. Learners were engaged, and tutors came prepared for the sessions”  


The region hosted over 269 learners and up to 50 tutors showed up to support the learners. The two KwaZulu Natal jointly held their holiday programmes at Umlazi Branch. The programme included revision sessions from the past two terms and conducted assessments through reviewing past exam papers. A highlight from the region was “ Interview Day” where learners dressed up in smart formal attire. The branch staff took the opportunity to facilitate an interactive session where learners were engaged in conversation on access to various career paths, access to tertiary, financial literacy, as well as leadership skills. The Joza Branch in Makhanda also hosted Mental health awareness facilitated by Rhodes Psychology clinic.

We would like to thank all the learners for showing up and showing such dedication to their education. We would also like to thank our volunteers for their time and for paying it forward.


Without our donors and partners, we wouldn’t have been able to host the holiday programme. We thank you for your generosity and for ensuring that together, we support the young people in our programmes to produce better learning outcomes. 


Masi Alumni Pay It Forward

Masi Alumni Pay It Forward

By: Damien Buckton, Fundraising Officer

‘Paying it forward’ is a core component in our award-winning model and it is a value we are proud to say is embedded in the ethos of our work. This component was on full display as IkamvaYouth alumni were invited to Masiphumelele High School to talk to the next generation of matriculants about the world of work and the various career opportunities available to them. 


Our Masiphumelele Branch held their Career Expo in June. This coincided with a month that celebrates young people’s drive and desire to ensure that their education is able to propel them to reach their dreams. The event was co-hosted by Sihle Sonanti and Aphiwe Sobutyu, now IkamvaYouth staff members who started their journeys as learners in the programme.

A packed courtyard showed just how eager the learners were to listen to the personal stories and anecdotes shared by some of their former tutors. The panelists were, themselves, once IkamvaYouth learners and tutors. On the panel was Sanele Bani, a culinary chef; Zintle Magazi, a researcher; Lubabalo Peter, a Librarian; Someleze Jabe, university student and Ayabulela Pali, Public Management graduate, with Zuki Lamani, Social media influencer. Drawing from their own journeys, the panelists shared stories about the various career paths available to them and expressed the importance of making the right decisions both personally and academically.


The panelists coming back to pay it forward demonstrates how deeply rooted the IkamvaYouth values were instilled in them as learners. Seeing and hearing first-hand the positive impact of the programme on the alumni was inspiring to the young learners. It encourages them to work hard because they see that their dreams are valid, and possible to achieve.


As we approach the 19 years of impact, we celebrate the programme’s success, as we see the many young learners who have been part of the programme go on to have successful careers. What we know, after two decades of implementing our programme, is that the programme’s alumni are the secret sauce to motivating young learners in the programme. They are ideal role models who are largely from the same communities where they are tutoring. They know what it takes to defy the odds of their circumstances and are an inspiration and proof of what’s possible. Through positive peer motivation, IkamvaYouth communities shift the norms, ensuring learners achieve excellence.

Reframing the Atlantis Narrative

Reframing the Atlantis Narrative

By: Yanga Totyi, Atlantis Branch Coordinator

As we begin the year, celebrating our stellar 2021 matric results, and reflecting on the Atlantis Brach journey since its inception, I am drawn to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Tedtalk: “The Danger of a Single Story”. 

In this talk, Chimamanda narrates a story about her upbringing and the single narrative she had built around her parents’ employee. The single-story was that of poverty and helplessness. This was shattered when they visited his village. Through this story, told at TED, Chimamanda, encourages us to recognize the importance of telling stories, to add voice to the narratives that exist about a situation, or a place. By adding our voice, we shatter single narratives about a place. We humanise and empower.  

Atlantis, located 65km outside of Cape Town, was established by the apartheid government in the early 1970s as an industrial community for the coloured population of Cape Town. Atlantis has been branded as a community rampant with drug use, and crime. IkamvaYouth established a branch in this community in 2017, against the backdrop of a single narrative. We have been running our after-school tutoring programme supporting young people to ensure that they pass matric, and access post-school opportunities. While the many economic challenges are real, our experience in the community has, again and again, shuttered the single narrative.  

Since the branch’s inception, we have worked with a community of stakeholders, who have all risen up to ensure we produce the best educational outcomes for young people in high school. Our main feeder schools such as Robinvale High School and Proteus Technical High school have been instrumental in making sure we overcome any hurdles.  It has been inspiring for us, to witness the school governing bodies, senior management teams and passionate teachers dedicate their time and resources, committing themselves to make an impact in the lives of Atlantis learners. 

Our partners, GrandSlots, Green Cape and the Atlantis SEZ have funded the programme, and Direct Axis has facilitated our mentorship, career guidance, life skills, and leadership programmes. The mentors particularly have been a constant source of support, spurring the young ones on and playing their part in retelling the story of Atlantis through the successes of these young people. 

Our after-school tutoring programme is facilitated by volunteers. Young people from the community show up to the branch to assist young learners with their homework and learning gaps. Here is one of our volunteers’ words: “Some of us were the first to pass and access tertiary education in our family. We have led by example, showing the younger brothers, sisters and cousins that it’s possible. My contribution to this branch is to also support learners and make sure that they are that example to their family”.

The combined efforts of tutors, mentors, teachers, school staff and parents have seen the branch produce stellar matric results year on year.  Each year our results have improved from 64% in 2018, 79% in 2019, 98% in 2020. 

Five years after the branch’s inception, the matric class of 2021 yet again dismantled the single narrative about young people from Atlantis by achieving a record-breaking 100% matric pass rate.  In addition, 67% of the 2021 cohort achieved a bachelor pass, 23% achieved a diploma pass, meaning that 90% of learners are eligible for tertiary institutions. In a community where not many are able to pass matric, we are proud of the collaborative effort to ensure that learners access tertiary education, and are set on a path to a dignified living. We are extremely proud of each and every learner that has gone through our programme. 

The danger of a single story about Atlantis could easily blind us from all the passion, the effort that these young people themselves put in to ensure they add to the story of success in Atlantis. Our CEO Hope Chidawanyika says: “The learners in our programme work extremely hard and every day they teach us all something new about what people can accomplish if they’re just given the opportunity and the support they need to reach their goals”. 

Kgahlisang Pilo, adamant about changing people’s perception of the youth of Atlantis – who are often labelled as drug and alcohol abusers and  consummate troublemakers, had the following to say about his IkamvaYouth journey,

“After failing grade 11 in 2019, seeing my peers go on to the next grade, I knew that I had to change something. With the help of IkamvaYouth, I changed for the better and focused more on passing and making it to matric. I gained new friends, I kept pushing and pushing and when I got my matric results…IT WAS SUCH A RELIEF! I finally made it and I would like to thank IkamvaYouth, the mentors and the funders for giving me the help I needed. I will never forget all that has been done for me! It has been such a bumpy ride.”


A big thank you to the IkamvaYouth team, for helping to weave this story, and bringing all stakeholders invested in the young people in our programme, to ensure we continue to tell a nuanced narrative of Atlantis. Atlantis branch staff and volunteers


Matric 2021; breaking barriers!!

Matric 2021; breaking barriers!!

By: Thandazo Jafta

The Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape matric cohort of 2021 has proven once again that resilience yields great results. The 2021 matric cohort has raised the bar, excelling in such difficult circumstances, to achieve an overall pass rate of 93% across the three branches in the region.

The Umlazi branch managed to obtain a pass rate of 85%, 42% of these learners achieved bachelor passes while 65% of them are eligible for tertiary. These learners performed extremely well given the difficult learning environment exacerbated by the COVID-19 school closures. We applaud the branch tutors and staff who worked tirelessly to ensure these great results are achieved. 

Sanele, a tutor at the Umlazi branch had this to say about the efforts towards achieving these great results:

“We have been working together with the learners assisting them with their studies, so that they improve and indeed they have worked hard and have improved, with good results. The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take the knowledge away from you.”

The Chesterville branch produced exceptional results. The branch achieved a pass rate of 96%. The branch managed to obtain a 50% bachelor pass rate and 83% eligibility for tertiary. These amazing results have been achieved through hard work. The staff and tutors worked tirelessly to ensure that learners are assisted through various programmes such as additional holiday sessions and workshops that were aimed at ensuring that the learners achieve the best results. This is proof that hard work really does pay off. 

This is what Sibonelo Mdunge, the Branch Coordinator had to say about the year 2021:

“I got to connect in a more meaningful way with some of our learners in the year 2021, and I learned that this generation has to deal with so much more than what we had to go through. I am really proud of them. It wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the commitment of our amazing tutors and their dedication and eagerness to pay it forward. They deserve the best.”


In the Eastern Cape, where pass rates have been low, passing matric is a commendable accomplishment. Learners from our Joza Branch in Makhanda Eastern Cape went against the grain and achieved a pass rate of 96%, with 65% bachelor passes, and a cumulative 23 distinctions. 83% of the learners qualified to access tertiary education. These results show that when young people are afforded the necessary resources and support they require, they are able to soar. 

Sihle, the top learner at our Joza branch, achieved 6 distinctions and is planning to pursue a career in Pharmacy. These are the words he had to share about his experience at IkamvaYouth:

“Last year I was in grade 12 at Ntsika Senior Secondary School and managed to obtain a bachelor pass with six distinctions. Before I joined IkamvaYouth, I was very lazy and couldn’t study at home. IkamvaYouth helped by providing a quiet space for me to study and whenever I did not understand anything, they provided me with a tutor to help me understand. I am also a person who struggles to understand textbooks as they have a lot of information. IkamvaYouth further provided study guides that made it easier for me to understand. My future plans are to study Pharmacy at Rhodes University.”


Well done to the class of 2021, we wish them all everything of the best as they seek placements in various tertiary learning institutions, pushing against the barriers in eager expectation to one day achieve their dreams.  

Class of 2021: Striving for Excellence

Class of 2021: Striving for Excellence

By Busisiwe Nkosi, District Manager, Gauteng and North West

The Gauteng and North West region has truly demonstrated true resilience, successfully completing their matric after two years of interrupted learning. The North West and Gauteng Class of 2021 achieved an overall 90% Matric pass rate, a collective 112 distinctions. 60% of the learners achieved Bachelor’s passes and 87% achieved tertiary eligibility. These results are a true show of resilience as the Class of 2021 triumphed despite the school closures and constant interrupted learning. 

Zooming into branch performance, the Diepsloot branch achieved an impressive 97.4% pass rate, with 87% of the learners in the branch achieving a Bachelor’s pass and an impressive 48 distinctions. 98% of the learners are eligible to study at tertiary education institutions. The shining star from that Diepsloot branch is Kelebogile who obtained seven distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, English First Additional Language, Sepedi, Life Sciences, Life Orientation and Computer Applications Technology, this included 100% for both Mathematics and Physical Sciences. He was recognised and awarded as the top learner in Mathematics and Physical Science in Gauteng by the Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Premier David Makhura.


“I joined IkamvaYouth when I was in grade 10. As much as I was doing great academically there were arrears in my life that were challenging me and affecting my mental health. IkamvaYouth assisted immensely in that regard through psychosocial interventions and affording me tutoring when the need occurred. The career guidance sessions also helped me narrow down my career choices. I am happy I joined the IkamvaYouth family and hope to repay the faith bestowed upon me’’.


Carrying the torch for our branches in the North West are our Ikageng and Mahikeng branches who produced excellent results this year. Our Ikageng branch once again shone bright with a stellar 98% matric pass rate. This year yielded the highest number of distinctions for the branch with the matrics getting a combined 20 distinctions. The branch also managed to obtain 58% bachelor passes and 81% eligible for tertiary.

The Mahikeng branch class of 2021 achieved outstanding results. The branch managed to attain a 93% pass rate, which shows a 5% improvement as compared to the previous year’s results. The class of 2021 has collectively attained 5 distinctions with 54% of the cohort attaining a bachelor’s pass.


The Ebony Park branch achieved great results with a collective pass rate of 84%. The branch managed to bag 53% bachelor passes, 23% diploma passes, and 7% higher certificate passes. The branch was able to produce an astounding 8 distinctions.


The Ivory Park Branch 2021 Matric cohort achieved a 75% pass rate. The branch achieved 16 distinctions with 3 learners receiving distinctions on core subjects including Mathematics, Business Studies and Accounting. Out of the 75% of learners who passed matric, we are pleased that 69% are eligible for tertiary education with 33% obtaining a bachelor’s pass, 36% diploma and a further 6% obtaining a higher certificate.

Our Mamelodi branch achieved an impressive 92% matric pass rate, a collective of 15 distinctions, with 2 learners attaining 2 distinctions each in Mathematics and Physical Sciences respectively. The branch bagged 24 bachelor passes, 9 diploma passes and 1 higher certificate pass. 89% of the learners are eligible to pursue a degree or diploma qualification in tertiary this year. Enormous effort has been made by the branch staff and tutors who have laid the foundation for our learners to have such an impressive performance.


We are now in the process of placing the class of 2021 into tertiary and other post-school opportunities. The cohort has already shown great resilience at such a formative age, we are excited about their future, as they will make a mark in our country. 

Well done Class of 2021. 

The Triumphant Class of 2021

The Triumphant Class of 2021

By: Delphino Machikicho

Minister AG Motshekga accurately described the 2021 matriculants’ academic experience when she said, “…the Class of 2021 will remember their Grade 12 year as one of challenge and triumph. The challenge was coping with the unknowns of new Covid-19 variants and managing its subsequent effects on learning. The triumph was overcoming learning loss and maintaining high academic discipline. The results of the class of 2021 is a triumph for the learners who participated and the society that supported them.”

Our Ikamvanites certainly triumphed and they deserve to be celebrated. After two years of disrupted learning and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of the COVID-19 pandemic they would have been forgiven for calling it quits. However, we saw their resilience and commitment to education. Our tutors were the Superheroes throughout the year. They provided not just quality academic support but displayed a high level of pedagogy of care. The results are a reflection of the amount of effort that was exerted throughout the year. 


The blossoming of the Atlantis branch is a marvel to witness, they achieved a record-breaking 100% pass rate! Even more impressive is the 90% tertiary eligibility that the Atlantis grade 12 learners attained. The leadership of the Atlantis branch persevered through the teething pains of the branch growth and now they are reaping the rewards. The tutors that have created a family environment make the branch so welcoming for all learners. The collaborative spirit of the school leaders from all our feeder schools has been humbling. We even have some of the teachers that sacrifice their Saturdays to come and tutor with us. The Atlantis Principal Committee has been supportive and we constantly glean from their wisdom. 


If consistency was a branch, then it will be Kuyasa. Again this year, they achieved a 100% pass rate with all the 31 learners eligible for tertiary education. The branch has harnessed the power of peer-to-peer learning in their Big Friday sessions where learners collaboratively attempt past exam papers under the watchful eye of the amazing tutors. 


The Makhaza branch significantly improved its pass rate to 78% from 66% in the previous year. There is an all-around improvement, the number of learners eligible for tertiary education improved by 30%, this cohort has 71% of the learners eligible for tertiary studies. Enormous effort has been made by the branch staff and tutors to have an upward trajectory with the learner performance. 


One of the heart-warming stories from our 2021 cohort, is the story of Uthandile from the GugsComp branch. She had joined our program in 2020 mid-year when she was in Grade 11. She had failed Grade 11, but the school progressed her to Grade 12. Throughout 2021, Uthandile persevered through the year with great diligence towards her studies. She attended all tutoring sessions, where she struggled she called on our ever-present tutors. Now she received her final grade 12 results and she achieved a Diploma pass. Uthandile’s story is proof that after-school programmes are essential to bridge the education gap. In addition, the values of resilience and dedication are important for learners to achieve their desired results

The GugsComp (Gugulethu) branch operates like a well-oiled machine, they exemplify a holistic approach to developing a well-rounded learner. The partnerships that the branch has with organisations like Amandla Safe Hub affords learners access to sporting facilities, leadership and other life skills workshops. They managed to achieve a 92% pass rate with 50% bachelor passes and 28% diploma passes. This is an improvement from the previous matric cohort that achieved an 89% pass rate. 


The Nyanga and Masi branches also performed exceptionally well with 81% and 84% respectively. Both branches have been consistent over the year assisting learners to achieve quality passes. The Nyanga branch has had an admirable mentorship partnership with 2U, this partnership has given learners a rare opportunity to learn from 2U employees. One of the top-performing learners at the Nyanga branch Sihle shared, “…we couldn’t come to school but IkamvaYouth was helpful as they formed WhatsApp groups. We would bring difficult questions to the group and the tutors would help us. This helped us to continue with school when schools were closed. 


We also had online mentoring and sometimes face to face. My mentor would ask questions about my career and they would help me to make choices about my tertiary journey. My mentor also couriered Maths Mind Action textbooks for me because I was struggling with Maths. I would like to say thank my mentor for their wise words, patience, and keep on helping others and may you be blessed.”

As the Western Cape region, we are delighted by the great results our learners achieved. The improvement year on year is evidence that the continuous improvement of our model and implementation yields results. We have had subject advisors training our tutors to improve their facilitation skills, this has given our Superheroes more artillery in their arsenal. We are confident that our learners will continue to triumph and get even better results. We appreciate all our partners that walk this journey with us, may we not tire to empower the children of Africa to attain dignified livelihoods.

Lloyd Lungu

031 909 3590
2525 Ngcede Grove, Umlazi AA Library, 4031

Lloyd is a self-disciplined and highly goal-driven Industrial Psychology Honours graduate. He is currently a Master's candidate completing his second year of M.Com in Industrial Psychology at the University of the Free State. Lloyd joined IkamvaYouth as a learner in 2012, after matriculating he came back and volunteered as a tutor for the duration of his undergraduate studies at UKZN. He later worked as an Intern in the Chesterville branch. His passion for youth empowerment and inclusion has grown enormously through his time and experience gained within IkamvaYouth and has inspired him to provide career guidance to young township people. He is currently working at the Umlazi Branch as a Branch Assistant.